Monday, 16 May 2011

On the Dark Recesses of My Mind

Surprise! I'm not actually dead, despite my lack of posting.

In the last month or two I've been living life to the full. Inspiration on things to write about, however, has been thin on the ground.

The one noteworthy realisation I was struck with during my prolonged absence was that my brain is actually quite big. Bigger than I ever really give it credit for. Fear not; I am not boasting about my IQ or my ability to remember obscure Eastenders characters from ten years ago. Let me explain.

As you may or may not know, I lived in Italy a while ago. It was a special time that has given me a wealth of happy and not so happy memories to look back on and cherish. And, as it turns out, it gave me more memories than I realised. When I went to Italy at the beginning of March, I was taken aback by the number of forgotten memories that came flooding back. Sights, sounds and smells all triggered recollections that I didn't realise I had.

And that's what I'm impressed with; the huge, unfathomable depth somewhere in my head that holds memories I don't actually remember. God knows how many situations I've been in or conversations I've had are sitting there, somewhere, waiting to be woken up and set free by a trigger it's impossible to predict.

This in turn reminded me of studying Proust in my first year of university. He talks about eating a certain type of biscuit that his grandmother gave him when he was but a petit garçon. Eating the same type of biscuit years later evoked a wealth of feelings and memories of his childhood. They all came back, in glorious 3D technicolour, from a biscuit. For the first time, I think I understand where he's coming from.

I just think it's a shame there's not some cerebral filing system that I can dip into when I'm at a loose end. A talking computer system that I can turn on and say, "I'm bored. Show me something I've forgotten." I want to see all the things I don't remember, the things filed under 'Insignificant' and 'Not Worth Remembering' that my brain backed up nonetheless.

Good on you, Brain. I applaud your hard - and unappreciated - work. You grafter you. And your next mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find me some inspiration for my blog, because I miss that even more than the things I don't remember.


  1. It's good to see you posting again! I've been needing a tbr-tangential fix.

    And I know what you mean about brains and memory triggers. I walked into my old middle school after years of not thinking about middle school and tons of obscure memories came flooding back to me. Same thing happened with my old high school. Not nearly as cool as Italy, but it's the same concept. Haha.

  2. This happens to me every single time I set foot in a city I once used to live in/travelled through, or a song that I forgot about but once meant so very much to me. You've made me all nostalgic now.

    The cerebral filing system reminded me of a Penesieve, which reminded me of Harry Potter, of being 11 and reading that first book...

    Also? You're a a petit garçon!

    p.p.s: and while you're trying to find blog inspiration, try find inspiration to e-mail me back! <3 :P x

  3. I'm just glad you're not dead. I was starting to worry.

  4. The subconscious is crazy, right? I think being in Bath gave me some of those feelings - things I saw before but forgot about.

  5. Yeahhhhhh, he's back! Sebastien was really happy to hear that you're blogging again. Have you checked out his blog? it's pretty great stuff!
    When are you coming for another visit, Darling? Paris misses you!

  6. Brain's are strange like that. My boss at the resort used to call me the 'Brainer' because I would just retain all this information I had seen/read/heard. I can recall things from years back that may not have even been that big, but they just stick.

    Glad you're not dead. :)

  7. When you talk about memories coming back in "glorious 3D colour" I immediately thought about the crazy boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory....please tell me you know what I'm talking about.

    And yay for Italy! I want to go back.

  8. Memory triggers are amazing. I'll smell something that reminds me of the UK, or of home, and suddenly my day is just that little bit brighter.

  9. I'm actually wondering that you just DID slip to London Underground (a la NEil Gaiman's Neverwhere)

  10. @ Lauren - and now I need a Lalalauren fix. I'm still in suspense after a somewhat intriguing email yesterday. The weirdest thing about going back to school (primary school at least) is the TINY chairs.

    @ Risha - I always email you back. And trust you to find some way of relating this to Harry Potter. Are you, per chance, screaming in Trafalgar Square this evening? (It's the premiere of the last film...I'm sure you knew that).

    @ Gnetch - you could have fooled me. No calls, no texts, no emails. You were just hoping to keep the lottery win to yourself...

    @ Allison - all I remember about Bath is a MASSIVE hill. I almost went to university there. I kind of wish I had...

    @ Erin - I'm checking it out now. I started reading his latest post then he wrote EXACTLY what I was thinking. The man is obviously talented. When are you coming to LONDON?

    @ Tabs, or should I say Brainer - that's quite a talent, and one I'm envious of. I mean I forget jokes half way through telling them. I'm almost certain my brain has only started storing things if I don't want it to...

    @ K-Money - spot on with the Willy reference! I'm far too old to find the word willy funny, but it still works.

    @ Risha - YESSSSS?

    @ Elle - which smells remind you of the UK? Something nice I hope. Like freshly cut grass. Or fry-ups?

    @ Sweta - I WISH I SLIPPED INTO NEVERWHERE. I love Neil Gaiman a bit too much. I still think about that book on my way to work sometimes. It makes the journey more interesting.